Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes might be a couple of guys with a mutual friend, but Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan are longtime Marvel co-stars — and they're riding together into the series finale of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Friday's action-packed Episode 6 pits Mackie's high-flying Falcon and Stan's metal-armed Barnes against the combined forces of Karli Morgenthau's (Erin Kellyman) super-powered Flag Smashers — backed by Batroc (Georges St-Pierre), who is backed by Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) — with scorned Super Soldier John Walker (Wyatt Russell) in the mix as a rogue Captain America.
"Two guys walk into a bar... Finally at the [final] episode and can't think of a better guy to have gone on this ride with," Mackie wrote in a Thursday Instagram post published just hours before Friday's finale.
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"We looked at a lot of the interviews they had done together, and they had this natural chemistry and we capitalized on that. Because they're friends off-screen, they have a history and comfort level that comes through," series director Kari Skogland told the Toronto Sun about Mackie and Stan, who have appeared together since Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2014. "The characters weren't friends, and they don't even like each other … but Bucky is like a lost puppy as he annoyingly follows Sam as they try to solve what's going on in the world."
After the "frenemies" were forced to team up in 2016's Captain America: Civil War — where the two "wingmen" were Team Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) when Zemo (Daniel Brühl) orchestrated an Avengers-disassembling plot — Marvel producers recognized the potential of a Falcon and Winter Soldier spin-off taking place in a post-Blip world after Avengers: Endgame.
"That was wonderful territory for the two characters to explore. They've been playing these guys for a long time, but as smaller characters," Skogland said. "But now was a chance to get to know them and their vulnerabilities. That was a bit terrifying, I think. Especially for Sebastian because the Winter Soldier is such an iconic character and now, we were ripping off all that veneer and getting into the man. That was new territory."
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series finale premieres Friday, April 23, on Disney+.
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